Guingamp, in the North of Britanny, is easily to reach via train from Rennes, just a little more than one hour. It is normally not listed as a touristic highlight – one of my guide books does not even mention it at all. This is certainly a neglect by this guide book. And for sure, once per year, for the Saint Loup festival, the Breton dance festival and competition, it is more than worth to visit. And much to see beyond the festival. Follow me on this visit in several parts – it was a long day.
The central square, where some of the festival activities took place, is lovely with old timber houses surrounding it. It must be enjoyable to sit behind one of these windows and watch the life in your center of town.
I arrived in time to still enjoy dancing from the local group. What I have noticed now quit often is, that it is not only old people, who participate in practicing the local cultural heritage, it is also the young. I like the mix of generations and it always feels that everybody is welcome. Dance groups for the festival come in costumes and in Brittany that also implies quite sophisticated hoods or bonnets. We will see more of them another day this week.
You want to see them actually dance? Valid point. Here they are performing what I call the flower dance – the women wear a pot of flower on their head. That certainly is an extra challenge. Here they are.
Tomorrow we will go on a short, yet quite serene, walk along the Trieux river.